Jackalope Dreams

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Overview

The departed men in her life still have plenty to say to Corey. Her father, a legendary rodeo cowboy who punctuated his lifelong pronouncements with a bullet to his head, may be the loudest. But in this story of Montana—a story in which the old West meets the new and tradition has its way with just about everyone—it is Corey’s voice we listen to. In this tour-de-force of voices big and small, sure and faltering, hers comes across resonant and ...

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Jackalope Dreams

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Overview

The departed men in her life still have plenty to say to Corey. Her father, a legendary rodeo cowboy who punctuated his lifelong pronouncements with a bullet to his head, may be the loudest. But in this story of Montana—a story in which the old West meets the new and tradition has its way with just about everyone—it is Corey’s voice we listen to. In this tour-de-force of voices big and small, sure and faltering, hers comes across resonant and clear, directing us to the heart of the matter.
 
Played out against the mythology of the Old West—a powerful amalgam of ranching history, Marlboro Men, and train robbery reenactments—the story of the newly orphaned, spinsterish Corey is a sometimes comical, sometimes poignant tale of coming-of-age a little late. As she tries to recapture an old dream of becoming a painter—of preserving some modicum of true art amid the virtual reality of modern Montana—Corey finds herself figuring in other dramas as well, other, younger lives already at least as lost as her own.

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Editorial Reviews

Missoulian

“Nothing less than stunning: a story beautifully told, characters richly conceived and developed, lessons subtly delivered. . . . It is the poetry and preciseness of Blew’s writing that set Jackalope Dreams apart from others of its ilk. Hers is storytelling of the highest order.”—Sherry Devlin, Missoulian

— Sherry Devlin

Publishers Weekly

In Blew's commendable fiction debut, Corey Henry is fired from her Montana middle school teaching job after striking a taunting student, 13-year-old Ariel Doggett. Heading into her 60s with diminished hopes, Corey faces further trials when her 80-year-old father, a decorated WWII vet and former rodeo star named Loren, commits suicide. Then Ariel's opportunistic father, Hailey Doggett, sues Corey for assaulting his daughter and turns out to be a lot more than merely greedy. Corey's lifelong passion to paint helps keep her grounded during the strife. When the tables turn on the Doggetts, Corey has a further role to play in their lives. Corey's imagined arguments with her late curmudgeonly dad, who has his disenchanted say on the condition of present-day Montana, slow things down, but Blew's distinctive narrative voice and knack for description keep the story on track. (Mar.)

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Los Angeles Times Book Review - Paul Wilner
“[Jackalope Dreams] gives us an example—if any is required—of why fiction is still necessary and what it uniquely offers. . . . Sentences seethe with urgent, unhurried energy, and the description of the land the author so clearly loves is in service of the story, not showing off. You come to care deeply about these people, caught between an uncapturable past and an uncertain future. Jackalope Dreams is a small masterpiece.”—Paul Wilner, Los Angeles Times Book Review
The Missoulian - Sherry Devlin
“Nothing less than stunning: a story beautifully told, characters richly conceived and developed, lessons subtly delivered. . . . It is the poetry and preciseness of Blew’s writing that set Jackalope Dreams apart from others of its ilk. Hers is storytelling of the highest order.”—Sherry Devlin, Missoulian
Kansas City Star - John Mark Eberhart
“Blew knows how to fuse the rugged with the delicate—some readers may be reminded of Plainsong author Kent Haruf’s no-nonsense approach.”—John Mark Eberhart, Kansas City Star
NewWest.net - Jenny Shank
“Engrossing. . . . Blew gets so much right, from her beautiful, clear prose to her sharp humor to her rich characterizations. . . . Jackalope Dreams satisfies.”—Jenny Shank, NewWest.net
Roundup Magazine - C. K. Crigger
"When Mary Clearman Blew reaches her stride, I dare you to put this book down."—C. K. Crigger, Roundup Magazine
Los Angeles Times Book Review

“[Jackalope Dreams] gives us an example—if any is required—of why fiction is still necessary and what it uniquely offers. . . . Sentences seethe with urgent, unhurried energy, and the description of the land the author so clearly loves is in service of the story, not showing off. You come to care deeply about these people, caught between an uncapturable past and an uncertain future. Jackalope Dreams is a small masterpiece.”—Paul Wilner, Los Angeles Times Book Review

— Paul Wilner

Kansas City Star

“Blew knows how to fuse the rugged with the delicate—some readers may be reminded of Plainsong author Kent Haruf’s no-nonsense approach.”—John Mark Eberhart, Kansas City Star

— John Mark Eberhart

The Missoulian
"What Blew has achieved in her first novel is nothing less than stunning: a story beautifully told, characters richly conceived and developed, lessons subtly delivered, complete with shoot-'em-ups, horse wrangling and hidden stashes of cash. . . . [I]t is the poetry and preciseness of Blew's writing that set Jackalope Dreams apart from others of its ilk. Hers is storytelling of the highest order."

— Sherry Devlin, Missoulian

NewWest.net

“Engrossing. . . . Blew gets so much right, from her beautiful, clear prose to her sharp humor to her rich characterizations. . . . Jackalope Dreams satisfies.”—Jenny Shank, NewWest.net

— Jenny Shank

Roundup Magazine

"When Mary Clearman Blew reaches her stride, I dare you to put this book down."—C. K. Crigger, Roundup Magazine

— C. K. Crigger

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803237681
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Series: Flyover Fiction Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Clearman Blew is the author of the acclaimed essay collection All But the Waltz; three books of short stories, including Sister Coyote; and is the editor of When Montana and I Were Young: A Memoir of a Frontier Childhood, available in a Bison Books edition. She is a professor of creative writing at the University of Idaho and twice has received the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, once in fiction and once in nonfiction, as well as the Western Literature Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award.

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    Posted April 18, 2013

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